You probably had time over the holiday to digest the New Yorker’s food issue. The decidedly international bent might lead us to conclude that not much is going on in the NYC food scene these days. Instead it’s all Nova Scotia, El Salvador, and, of course, Denmark. Jane Kramer must have seen the writing on the wall when she acknowledged the era of the “I foraged with Rene Redzepi piece” before launching into exactly that. Don’t get me wrong, I think foraging sounds like a blast, maybe even with the Noma chef, but reading a piece about it is akin to reading about teens searching for a bargain at the mall. The only interesting piece about foraging would consist of a field guide to the local surrounds.
Luckily there is Calvin Trillin’s piece “My Repertoire,” where he deftly describes the few dishes he has mastered—salmon hash, anyone? It’s a refreshing read in a genre (food writing, that is) that can go on and on about, say, heirloom beans. Trillin’s piece captures our connection with the things we cook (again and again) with humor and without gushing. (The article is locked, hence no link.) Its message of the joy that can come from a relatively small repertoire is a good one for novice cooks who can feel understandably overwhelmed.